It will take a long time for the horror of what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon to settle in. The two bomb blasts that killed several people, including an 8-year-old boy, have forever changed the American landscape. But my fellow Americans, I have a favor to ask. Let us not focus on the atrocities today but on the lights in the dark, on the heroes who rushed in to help even as the hurt and afraid were rushing out.
I'm talking about the first responders, yes, but I'm also talking about the former New England Patriots player who scooped a woman into his arms and started running. I'm talking about the doctor who was waiting for his wife to cross the finish line who instead rolled up his sleeves and started treating patients. I'm talking about the Bostonians who -- not knowing if there was a madman on the loose -- still opened their arms and their homes to people in need.
Boston is a city full of heroes this week, and America is a place full of goodness. Today, these are the stories we should be talking about:
1. Football fans know Joe Andruzzi as a Super Bowl winning offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, but they might not know that on 9/11, he was a brother anxiously awaiting word as his firefighter siblings rushed into the towers. On Monday afternoon, he had his second brush with terror and responded not unlike his brothers. He rushed to the aid of a woman hurt in the bombing, scooped her up, and ran her to safety.
2. When the Boston Globe set up a Google Doc for Bostonians to offer lodging to people in need of it on Monday night, the offers poured in. Even with the uncertainty of a terrorist in their midst, residents willingly published their names, their phone numbers, their emails, all for the greater good. Among the most touching offers? "We have an inflatable mattress and a fuzzy dog to pet."
3. Restaurants in Boston depend on the money they'll make from the influx of tourists for Marathon Monday, but they set that aside. Many were offering food with the request that people "pay what you can" to those who needed it.
4. Offers to donate blood poured into the Red Cross. There were so many, in fact, that the organization was able to turn people away because their need had been filled by generous donors.
5. Because cellphone service in the Boston area was overwhelmed, Google stepped in to help connect people to their loved ones. The Google Person Finder is still up for people who haven't made contact.
6. A marathon relief fund has yet to be established, but New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (formerly of the Rams) has already pledged $100 for every pass he catches this season and $200 for any dropped pass.
7. The viral photo a man whose legs were severed in the bomb blast being pushed in a wheelchair to waiting ambulances now has a story behind it: the chair was being pushed by Carlos Arredondo, an immigrant whose Marine son died in Iraq. Arredondo was on the sidelines to wait for a runner who had dedicated his run to the late Marine. When the blast went off, he could have run away. Instead he ran in to help.
8. Dr. Allen Panter was far from his hospital in North Carolina waiting for his wife to cross the finish line, but he didn't shy away and leave the work to local physicians. He immediately stepped in to help with triage, trying to save the life of one woman who is now among the three confirmed dead.
9. Runners may have been shivering from the shock, but they were offering up their coats to people to keep warm. They literally gave the coats off their backs ...
10. An Instagram photo of an unnamed Bostonian has gone viral -- it shows him standing outside with a bottle of orange juice, pouring out cups for the runners. He reportedly also allowed people to use his bathroom.
11. Sports rivalries are legendary, but folks around the country have dropped them today in favor of showing some love. An image on the wall of the Brooklyn Academy of Music showed a truce between the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Chicago Tribune sports section ran a tribute to all Boston teams today.
12. Two Lutheran pastors were spotted walking among the chaos with Bibles in hand. They were there to provide comfort to those who needed them most.
What stories are you clinging to today out of Boston?
Image via Mark Z./Flickr